I'm Bored, said the Mom

This past weekend was a perfect taste of the summer to come. (Three and a half more days of school here in the Upper Midwest.) There was sunshine, swimming, s’mores. We grilled and lazed and smelled like sunscreen and sweat. We colored and played with Little People and grumped and got frustrated when siblings didn’t want to play kick ball and I cleaned the high chair at least ten times. Before dinner.

And we were (dare I say it?) bored.

And it wasn’t just the kids. It was me.

I didn’t have a plan or a purpose for my time. Certainly, being unscheduled is a grace. But it can also feel like a long stretch of monotony when I bounce from breaking up fights to checking email on my phone to cleaning the crumbs off the high chair (again) to surfing through Facebook.

I can’t tackle any of my projects because, well, have you met Kieran? It’s difficult to write or sort pictures while chasing a toddler. I can’t play a game with any one child without the other three wanting to “help,” which always ruins the game and frustrates everyone involved. I can’t even cook dinner, something I normally love, with this many bodies underfoot. I have to wait for Corey to be done with his work. (This weekend, it was burning the branches from the many trees he’s cut down the past few weeks. And it took him the better part of both days.)


Boredom makes me cranky. I feel lethargic, unimaginative, stifled and irritated. It’s the opposite of fun, the opposite of loving well.

So. How to fight the mom boredom?

I have a few ideas, a few tricks that help me counter the tedium that can sometimes encroach on a SAHM’s territory.

I’ll share my thoughts tomorrow. But now? It’s your turn. What do you do when you're bored and you have your kids at home?


  1. My bloggity break plans for the summer with kids home all day, every day, include mucho knitting of fun toys and gifts and a purse and doing a whole ton of sewing and some other random crafts. All in between the breaking up of fights and going to the pool and unpacking and decorating a house that is WAY too big for our family. So. Those are the things I do when I'm bored. Other than read blogs and spent inordinate amounts of time on Pinterest. Ahem.

  2. I nap (which isn't an option for you probably since all of your kids don't nap like mine!), I make lists of things to do and try to do some of those things, I organize, I plan meals, I read, I waste time on the internet... I guess I don't have tons of time I am bored I guess. It seems like there is always something going on. I don't really do anything "creative" right now. I am behind on baby books and anything "extra" like that. I guess the biggest thing I do right now for myself is blog. And work out at the Y a few times a week. The kids go to childcare and have fun. I work out- which is a nice break because I read and/or watch tv while I am doing it!

  3. I wait for YOU to share your ideas and 'tricks'....and then I use those. Hurry and share.....ple-e-e-e-e-ease!!! ;-)

  4. Well, since you have a busy toddler I don't think I have any tips. I read a lot, but I can do that since Ben still naps twice a day and my older girls are great about playing with him anyway. Does he like baths? When my big kids were all little (3, 2, 1) I would put them all in the tub with tons of bubbles and toys and they would splash and play while I sat there and read a book or did my nails or whatever.

    Good luck Kelly!

  5. I didn't do this last year, but usually I like to have some kind of loose schedule for the summer weeks. I like to plan one outing a week, when we are all home. I call them field trips to drum up more excitement from the kids :)

    So this summer, we are going to hit a couple of local historical sites and a small local museum. I have planned one big field trip to the Crayola Factory, which is about an hour away. I find that if I have one fun outing a week planned, then the rest of the week falls into place a little better.

    I was also lucky because a friend of mine compiled a huge (probably 200 items) list of fun things to do in the summer. So we will be drawing from that, too!

  6. when i'm home with mine (1 baby, 1 toddler), and we start getting stir crazy, I take them on a walk, or go to the park, or drive somewhere...the library, the mall... Or i invite over a friend who doesn't have kids and wants to hang out with mine:) But I have a book called The Preschooler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. Full of creative ideas that don't take much money or effort. I bet all your kids would like most of the activities.

  7. I have very little boredom time since I'm a working, single mother ... but when I do get to feeling like I'm in a rut or lacking creativity, I try to focus on something intentional and measureable with the children like: weed the garden, walk the neighborhood (older ones bike, me push stroller), visit a park or go to the mall play area.

  8. Hmm. This makes a lot of sense. I would never have pegged it as boredom though. I look around in those moments and see all I NEED to do (housework stuff), things I SHOULD do (play with my kids) and see all the stuff I WANT to do that definitely needs to take a backseat (reading, blogging, FB, crafts, redecorating...). I find myself feeling so selfish and cranky that I don't get to do what *I* want to do. Isn't that loving of me? So instead of bored, I think it's restless. And we're feeling it over here. It seems like we're in an endless cycle of restlessness and not loving anything we're doing (2 weeks into summer).

    So! This week I started lists with the girls. They love filling in the blanks and checking boxes. We made huge long lists with blank lines where they can write every book they read. We made a summer poster and they can check things off as they do it (which makes them want to find things to do just to check off!). We have lists of things they need to do each day before they can do other things, etc. So far so good. We'll see how long it lasts.

    I'm eager to read your ideas, Kel!

    Okay, I'm off to break up a Wii fight and clean up the highchair. Yep, totally in the same boat. Ugh.